Holly McNarland

Stuff

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With Alanis Morrisette and Fiona Apple burning up the charts, the mid- to late 1990s were more than friendly to angst-ridden female rockers. One of the most compelling "angry young woman" releases of 1997 was Holly McNarland's Stuff, which gives the impression that the Canadian singer/songwriter lives and breathes dysfunction. Expressive and convincing, McNarland packs a strong emotional punch on "The Box," "Coward," "Elmo" and other tortured, introspective offerings that leave little or no room for optimism. At times, McNarland's intonation brings to mind Sheryl Crow, though her anger and sadness make Morrisette and Apple more valid comparisons. Stuff isn't a CD to listen to when you're in the mood for lighthearted escapism.

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